Q-3: Can the other side catch you exaggerating or lying?

Insurance adjusters and defense lawyers go to great lengths to try to portray the injured victim as a person who exaggerates or who is downright dishonest.  They might send a cameraman to secretly take video surveillance to see if they can catch you doing something at home that you are not supposed to be doing.  They check Facebook and other social media to see if they can catch you saying something that is different than what your lawyer is saying.  They comb through your medical records looking for inconsistencies.  They look at employment records, CDL applications, hunting license applications, prior court filings, and of course, criminal records.  Their goal is simple – to see if they can paint you as someone who is unreliable and untrustworthy?

Lying or exaggerating is wrong in any situation, but when you are trying to recover for injuries in a car accident, lying can kill your case before it even gets started. Why?  Because injury claims always hinge on credibility—always! If you have no credibility, you have no case.

The reason is simple. A jury is going to have to take you at your word when you say that you are in pain. Every person experiences pain differently.  Some people can have a bulging disc and still function relatively well, while others can have what appears to be a similar injury, but they can barely walk!  Some people can have their car totaled and be okay; others with relatively minor car damage have major injuries. So how do you know who is in pain and who is not? You ask the patient. You can see a broken bone on an x-ray, you can see a herniated disc on an MRI, and you can measure nerve damage with an EMG. But none of these diagnostic tools can measure your pain. Pain can be real, disabling, and life-changing, but it cannot be objectively measured by a medical test. Thus, if a doctor wants to know how badly you are hurting, he will usually ask you to rate your pain from 1 – 10 because, unfortunately, this is the best that science can do to quantify pain.

So what happens if the insurance adjuster thinks that he can prove that you are willing to lie to help your case? He will know that they jury will not only discount your pain and suffering damages, the jury will also discount all the rest of your case as well.  The opposite is also true.  If the adjuster sees you as a person who tells a consistent and credible story, then that adjuster will know that a jury will likely believe you and will increase the value of the case accordingly.

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